DNA provides break in 1971 murder

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Zodiac Media: DNA provides break in 1971 murder

By Tom Voigt (Admin) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 12:43 pm:

DNA provides break in 1971 murder

Thursday, January 9, 2003

(AP) --

Investigators in El Dorado, Calif., have matched the DNA from a prisoner with evidence found 31 years ago at the scene of a former Eugene woman's murder.

Betty Marie Cloer was found beaten and shot to death in a rural area west of Placerville, Calif., on June 18, 1971. The 21-year-old and her young son had just moved from Eugene to Sacramento.

"In my heart of hearts, I didn't believe it would happen," Cloer's older sister, Anita McClure of Harrisburg, said Wednesday. "I am so amazed that they kept all that evidence after all those years."

Detective Sgt. Hal Lamb of the El Dorado County sheriff's department confirmed that investigators did get a hit in the state's DNA database but said the match was just the first step in an investigation that could take months.

State law requires that felons convicted of certain violent crimes such as murder or rape provide DNA samples. The samples are analyzed and the results kept in a database maintained by the state Department of Justice and linked to a central FBI database.

Lamb and officials at the California Attorney General's Office declined to release the name of the suspect.

The young mother had attended Eugene Beauty College for a year before the move and was taking classes at a beauty school in Sacramento.

She left her son with a baby sitter on a Friday night and went out to a bar with her roommate, according to reports published at the time. She never returned.

The next morning, two young girls on horseback discovered her body in a field.

Cloer had been shot three times in the head, chest and right arm with a small-caliber pistol. Her head and face had been beaten beyond recognition.

Detectives at the time noticed similarities between Cloer's death and the slaying of another young woman whose body was discovered near Sacramento eight months earlier.

Investigators wondered at the time whether the women might be victims of the Zodiac killer, who terrorized Northern California from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s.

McClure said her nephew, Robert, has had a difficult time dealing with his mother's death. After her murder, he was adopted by his grandparents, James and Thelma Cloer, and brought back to Eugene.

Now 36, he is married with children of his own, including a daughter named after Betty Cloer.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbe1334.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 08:12 pm:

Looks like we can scratch another "possible Z-victim" from Graysmith's list...

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-007-028.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 11:05 pm:

Tom, although .22 caliber murders are and were commonplace, I've always been interested in any cases where a young female is shot and dumped, since I worked one (unsolved) of a 21-year-old less than 6 weeks before the El Dorado case. If any of your information sources can provide the identity of the suspect, I'd be interested in learning it. As all of you know, communications between law enforcement agencies at the time was not what it is today, so the circs of the El Dorado case might have slipped through the cracks with us. With a name, my former agency might be able to compare notes and even do a comparison between the recovered slugs. You never know.

From the description of the wounds, it sounds like the arm was a defense wound, the chest probably followed, and the head shot was a coup de grace. Maybe not.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 09:55 am:

I find it heartening that some of these cold cases are being solved from the standpoint that solving one may solve another - sort of a reverse domino effect. Perhaps this is how the Z cases will be solved, by backtracking through the case load; "Six Degrees of Zodiac", if you will.